So, how have the Commonwealth Games been for you? Apart from a few personal encounters with jumped-up, half-pint prats in hi-vis vests who think a badge makes them Vladimir Putin, I have had a wonderful time.
So have most of the visitors to the Games, which should make all of Scotland proud. Our athletes have shown their commitment to their country and been rewarded with a record haul of medals – congratulations to them all – but I am even more proud of the fact that Scotland has put on a major international sporting event with aplomb.
There have been a few problems, mostly with transport, as anyone who, like me, stood in the queues for the trains to Edinburgh at the weekend will testify. But to an amazing degree the Scottish public and our tens of thousands of visitors have put up with these inconveniences with a great deal of forbearance.
I also have to say that ordinary Glaswegians have put up with serious difficulties caused by the Games with their traditional humour and no little patience.
The security was over the top, in my opinion, but if we end the Games with everyone safe then it would have to be said that the security was correctly judged. And we don’t know if Police Scotland have received information that the Games were a terrorist target. After the 2007 attack on Glasgow Airport, we now know that Scotland is not immune to such madness.
I have to say that, as someone born in Glasgow who started his working life in the city, I was mesmerised by the opening ceremony.
Some newspapers, notably the po-faced Guardian, just didn’t get what the ceremony was all about – a confident, vibrant Scotland able to poke fun at its own clichés and make statements about freedom and equality and Glasgow’s history which resonated with all who have any knowledge of the real Scotland.
I never thought I would live to see the day that the Queen would enter Celtic Park to rapturous applause and hear her anthem sung with gusto. And it is her anthem – after the referendum, when this SNP member hopes fervently for a Yes vote, God Save the Queen should be retained for occasions when royalty is present, just as the United States has its presidential anthem, Hail to the Chief. For the Queen will still be our head of state, and her presence in Glasgow at the Games has proven the deep affection the vast majority Scots retain for the monarch.
Yes, the ceremony was loud and raucous at times, but the Scottish Ballet dancers’ duet was beautiful and moving, and I know I was not the only one with a huge lump in the throat when that beautiful soprano Pumeza Matshikiza, who grew up in apartheid South Africa, gave a marvellous rendition of Hamish Henderson’s magical Freedom Come All Ye. Some say it should be the Scottish national anthem, but I have always thought – because Hamish himself told me so many years ago – that it was an anthem for the whole world, albeit sung in Scots.
It’s been a triumph for Glasgow, but it’s been great for Edinburgh, too, as happy hoteliers will confirm. Now bring on the Festival – we here do that better than anywhere, even Glasgow.
Little change to Leithers’ faces
Loved the story about the facial reconstruction of mediaeval Leithers whose remains were found during tram works. Clearly, no great improvement in Leithers’ looks has occurred over the centuries – only joking!
No vote has been a Labour of love
This SNP member is convinced that the referendum is coming down to one question.
When all is said and done, this is a political decision, and in a democracy, politics is all about turning out your party’s vote on election day.
It’s no different with the referendum. Both sides will have to turn out the vote, and the Yes campaign has been working on that for two years now.
The only party in Scotland aligned with the No campaign which can get out serious vote numbers is Labour. So the question is – will Labour compel its members to work for No on September 18, under threat of expulsion if they don’t? Answer that one, Ms Lamont and Mr Miliband.
No monopoly on heartbreak or hindsight
THE tragedy of Mikaeel Kular still makes me want to weep.
What made his mother Rosdeep Adekoya kill her boy is something that only she can answer, and she will spend the rest of her life trying to explain why she did what she did.
As usual, there has been a clarion call for the social services in Fife and Edinburgh to be investigated, and yes, if there was any fault on their part it should be exposed.
But I can’t help concluding that on the evidence we have all learned, this was one of those cases that no-one could have foreseen.
Reform at royal bank
It’s good to see RBS, which we taxpayers own, has doubled its profits in recent months. This city needs our financial sector to function properly, and from personal encounters with senior RBS staff, I can say the bank has reformed itself by putting its customers first. What a pity they ever stopped doing so.